Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, JACK FROST AND THE CATY-DID, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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JACK FROST AND THE CATY-DID, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I heard - 'twas on an autumn night
Last Line: To fan her wakeless dream.
Subject(s): Crickets; Winter


I HEARD -- 't was on an Autumn night --
A little song from yonder tree;
'T was a Caty-did, in the branches hid,
And thus sung he:
"Fair Caty sat beside yon stream,
Beneath the chestnut tree;
Each star sent forth its brightest gleam,
And the moon let fall her softest beam
On Caty and on me.
"And thus she wished -- 'O, could I sing
Like the little birds in May,
With a satin breast and a silken wing,
And a leafy home by this gentle spring,
I'd chirp as blithe as they.
"' The Frog in the water, the Cricket on land,
The Night-hawk in the sky,
With the Whip-poor-will should be my band,
While gayly by the streamlet's sand,
The Lightning-bug should fly.'
" Her wish is granted -- Off she flings
The robes that her beauty hid;
She wraps herself in her silken wings,
And near me now she sits and sings,
And tells what Caty did."
A beam from the waning moon was shot,
Where the little minstrel hid,
A cobweb from the cloud was let,
And down I boldly slid.
A hollow hailstone on my head,
For a glittering helm was clasped,
And a sharpened spear, like an icicle clear,
In my cold little fingers was grasped.
Silent, and resting on their arms,
I viewed my forces nigh,
Waiting the sign on earth to land,
Or bivouac in the sky.
From a birchen bough, which yellow turned
Beneath my withering lance;
I pointed them to that glassy pool,
And silently they advanced.
The water crisped beneath their feet
It never felt their weights;
And nothing but the rising sun,
Showed traces of their skates.
No horn I sounded, no shout I made,
But I lifted my vizor lid,
My felt-shod foot on the leaf I put,
And killed the Caty-did.
Her song went down the southern wind,
Her last breath up the stream;
But a rustling branch is left behind,
To fan her wakeless dream.






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